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Civil society moves to rehabilitate oncology department at hospital instead of ‘blaming gov’t’

Himmetna initiative encourages activism to boost healthcare services for underprivileged Jordanians

By Yasmeen Kanaan - Jan 21,2019 - Last updated at Jan 21,2019

Founders of the Himmetna campaign called on citizens to take the initiative and support the rehabilitation of Al Bashir Government Hospital’s oncology department, on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Al Bashir Hospital’s Facebook page)

AMMAN — Social activists on Sunday discussed with officials from the public and private sectors plans to rehabilitate the oncology department at the Al Bashir Government Hospital in Amman.

Founders of the fundraising Himmetna campaign called on private citizens to take initiative for the greater good instead of waiting on the government to provide solutions.

“If we keep on blaming the government, we will not move forward. And who will pay the price? The underprivileged patients,” Laila Atallah, Himmetna’s general coordinator, told The Jordan Times.

“Lives are at stake here,” Atallah stressed.

In response, MP Haifa Najjar said: “It is the government’s responsibility to provide quality medical services.”

But like Atallah, she argued that “progress is not possible unless the civil society takes initiative and collaborates with the private and public sectors”.

“Especially since Al Bashir lacks the resources and the country is currently facing various economic challenges,” she noted.

The initiative collects donations and raises funds for the development of medical facilities at public hospitals, specifically oncology departments.

Their first project is to renovate and rehabilitate the oncology department at Al Bashir, Amman’s largest government hospital.

Costs of renovating the department are estimated at some JD1.5 million, according to Atallah.

Since launching in August 2018, the campaign raised 30 per cent of the total required funds for the project.

Various private sector contributors and supporters have donated to the cause of the initiative.

Major contributors include the Jordanian Construction Contractors Association (JCCA), whose President Ahmad Al Yacoub expressed his readiness to continue supporting the initiative.

Notably, the JCCA has previously collaborated with the King Hussein Cancer Centre on similar projects.

Representatives of the private sector also attended the event, held at the association’s headquarters, including CEO and chairman of Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Said Darwazeh.

While appreciative of the effort, Najjar reassured that legislative efforts are underway to secure quality healthcare services for all citizens, as “the Jordanian citizen is our most important asset”, she underscored.

Himmetna campaign patrons Fadia Samara, Hiba Nassereddine, Areej Al Khateeb and Atallah shared their visions for Al Bashir, and several other public hospitals, with the attendees.

According to them, their initiative was sparked by the decision of Hani Mulqi’s resigned government to suspend medical coverage for cancer patients at Al Bashir Hospital.

The campaign is also calling for raising medical staff numbers and providing psychological support for cancer patients.

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